Carla Meninsky

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Carla Meninsky is a former video game designer during the early years of the Atari 2600 video game console.[1] Along with Carol Shaw (creator of 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe and River Raid), Meninsky was one of two female engineers at Atari to develop video game cartridges released in the early 1980s.[2]

Meninsky's Atari 2600 credits include the 1980 racing game Dodge 'Em (an unofficial version of Sega's 1979 Head On coin-op) and a 1981 port of Atari's Warlords. Meninsky also worked on the 2600 port of Star Raiders (originally designed by Doug Neubauer and released in 1979 for the Atari 8-bit computers) and an unreleased prototype of Tempest.[3]


Meninsky's mother was a programmer and Carla learned programming in high school, but she switched from mathematics to neuropsychology and brain modelling at Stanford University. Given her artistic bent, Meninsky was particularly interested in vision and eventually veered back toward programming and a lifelong dream of creating animation tools. She presented her animation idea to Atari and was hired, but in the fluid environment characteristic of an early start-up, her talents were soon put to videogame programming. While pursuing venture capital for animation, Meninsky worked for Electronic Arts (EA) and other game publishers and eventually started her own successful contract programming company. In the course of writing contracts and seeing intellectual property rights being ignored by some companies, she became interested in intellectual property law.[4]

Meninsky graduated from George Washington University Law School and now practices intellectual property law.[5] As an EPIC Public Interest Opportunities Program Fellow, Meninsky testified before the U.S. Senate in 2002.[6]

Meninsky has worked as a summer teacher of International Financial Law at the London School of Economics.


Meninsky was the mind behind Warlords (Atari 2600), which is recognized as one of the “must have” paddle games for the Atari 2600 platform. She also coded Dodge ‘Em, Star Raiders, and an unreleased prototype of Tempest for the 2600 platform.[7]

Meninsky joined Atari after graduating from Stanford University with a degree in psychology. She began her college career at Stanford studying math, but eventually switched to psychology because it sounded more exciting. She learned basic Fortran in high school from her mother, who was a programmer, and through this she started to build an interest in computer animation.[7]


  1. ^ Fulton, Steve (August 21, 2008). "Atari: The Golden Years — A History, 1978–1981". Gamasutra. Retrieved December 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ Crawford, Chris (2003). Chris Crawford on Game Design. New Riders Games. pp. 223, 437. ISBN 0-13-146099-4. 
  3. ^ Yarusso, Albert. "Programmers: Carla Meninsky". AtariAge. Retrieved December 3, 2010. 
  4. ^ Nicholes, Will. "Interview with Carla Meninsky". Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Meninsky, Carla. "Computer Programs and Copyright: Using Technological Measures to Lock out Competition". Munich Intellectual Property Law Center. Retrieved 2011-03-27. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Rotenberg, Marc; Meninsky, Carla. "EPIC Statement on Biometrics and Identify Theft". Electronic Privacy Information Center. Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  7. ^ a b "Will Nicholes - Interview with Carla Meninsky (page 1)". Retrieved 2016-06-26. 


Meninsky, Carla. "Locked Out: The New Hazards of Reverse Engineering". The John Marshall Journal of Computer & Information Law Vol. XXI Summer 2003 No. 4. Retrieved 2015-05-23.